At least two people were killed last night in a riot Pacific French Island of New Caledonia, the Defence and National Security Council reunited this morning on 15 May to try and control the ”insurrectionary” (Photo by Remon Haazen/Getty Images)


Two killed in New Caledonia rioting after right to vote is broadened


At least two people have been killed in rioting on the French Pacific Island of New Caledonia.

Around 130 people were also taken into custody by police during the violence on May 14. Several institutional buildings were set on fire, leading French President Emmanuel Macron to convene a defence and national security council meeting the following day regarding the “insurrection”.

The rioting erupted after the French National Assembly approved changes to voting rules in the Pacific island, repealing the Noumea Agreements of 1998 in which only those registered on the electoral roll before 1998 could vote in provincial elections. The new law will allow all natives and those who have lived in New Caledonia for at least 10 years to take part.

Indigenous Kanaks and the Socialist National Liberation Front were against the the National Assembly’s ruling, fearing a loss of influence among the native Kanak population.

As the vote result became clear, Kanaks living in mainland France gathered outside the National Assembly in Paris.

“The right of the Kanak people is to be sovereign in their country,” representatives said.

Loyalists in favour of the rule changes called for a “state of emergency” and demanded that Macron “do everything in [his] power to restore peace and security to New Caledonia”.

“Mr President, we are in a state of civil war,” they said.

They demanded the President send “the army alongside the police and gendarmerie forces” to control the situation on the island.

Left-wing opposition parties in France contested the French Government reforms. One of the leaders of France Insoumis, Francçois Ruffin, said the Government “plays with tension and provocation”.

He called for a repeal of the law.

The French Government has recently struggled with its overseas regions.

In April, French minister for overseas territories Marie Guevenoux said the country aimed to “restore Republican order” on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte over what she said was a high rate of delinquency.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin announced the Government would end “birth-right citizenship” in Mayotte due to mass migration.

“It will no longer be possible to become French if you are not the child of a French parent,” Darmanin stated.

The handling of the situation in Mayotte led to violent confrontations that caused public outrage in mainland France.